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Unlocking Personalization Across the Omni-Channel Funnel

Kerry Guard • Tuesday, August 15, 2023 • 60 minutes to listen

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Adrian Menstell

Join the conversation with Adrian Menstell, Senior Manager of Advertising at T-Mobile, as he unravels the possibilities of achieving personalization throughout the omni-channel funnel.


Kerry Guard: Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and Welcome to Tea Time with tech marketing leaders.

Kerry Guard: We're live, we're live round two, let's do this. I'm so excited. Thank you all for tuning in to this episode of Tea Time with tech marketing leaders as we take it live. This is our second round of doing this and Adrian was kind enough to be a guinea pig in this grand experiment. So thank you, Adrian, thank you for joining me.

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, thanks for having me. I have to say I don't feel much different being live versus not live. So that's a good thing. I can't get too nervous.

Kerry Guard: Awesome. And I'm gonna pay attention for those who are joining. Yes, thank you. I can't see you. I don't know that you're here. The only way I'll know is if you hang out in the comments. And let us say hi, let us know where you're from. start some conversations, ask questions. I am paying attention to the comments. I'd love to know. I'd love to know who's joining us here today on Tea Time. Adrian, I'm so grateful for this. 

Adrian Menstell: Oh, me too. I feel like we haven't connected for quite a while. So it's really great to reconnect now.

Kerry Guard: It's been a bit before we get into it, I need to introduce you all to this wonderful human. Adrian and I worked many moons ago at MEC in Seattle, Washington. Good times, we sat next to each other and caused all sorts of mischief. Yep. We had great debates to the point where our VP Mark Yesayian and who was sitting across from us actually wished he had popcorn at one point.

Adrian Menstell: Everyone thought we were fighting, but we were just agreeing and disagreeing very loudly.

Kerry Guard: It was great. Like Mark knew what was that Mark? Yeah. It was awesome. I loved it so much. And after a few years of us parting ways and going our separate directions, we reconnected and over, we were having a playdate with our children. And I was picking Adrian's brain about building teams and managing and people. And he had so many great nuggets. I was like, How do you feel about being a mentor of mine. And so he was a mentor for many years and MRI to those who are listening from MKG, thank you for joining, I appreciate you. And you can thank this gentleman for MRI, most respectable interpretation, it was a game changer for me in terms of how I took feedback of how I listened to people, how I stopped taking things so personally, and how I really started thinking about where the other person was coming from. And that is all thanks to this human. And that's also like, baked in our values, and our playbook is meant immense value. So yes to Adrienne and our connection. Since then, Adrian has gone on to do many things outside of our relationship he started he was with me at MEC, I will say started because you're going to tell that story of me at MEC, he went on to Razorfish, and actually he was at Microsoft building teams around analytics, and he's going to unpack all that for us in a second. But I just wanted to give you all a sense of why he's here on Tea Time, while we have a great connection. He's also got immense knowledge when it comes to working at tech companies, and what it means to be a marketer, and what it means to be a marketer in analytics, I think there's some friction happening right now in the market of everybody trying to move very quickly, but also trying to drive to revenue, but also like try not to spend a lot of money. And so Adrian is going to help us get some clarity around how we can do some of those things, really, really intentionally and thoughtfully. Thanks to his experience. So Adrian,

Adrian Menstell: Great. Well, first off, I'm really glad that you started the conversation about our previous conversations, agreeing and disagreeing very loudly, I would have to say it's that kind of brainstorming and that kind of back and forth that I get almost all of my energy from if I could have a career doing nothing, but having those very passionate conversations, I certainly would, again, assuming that I know something about what I'm talking about. Also in terms of MRI, thank you for the credit there. But I have to be very transparent that I stole that from someone else and just brought it along to you. So I don't remember where I got it from. But someone else told me that. And it seems really, really applicable to the situations that you kind of you were in, so it made the most sense. And I also look back at both of our histories at NBC and then working together with mkg really, very fondly. Again, it goes back to getting to have those in depth brainstorming fun conversations. So I forgot the question while I was trying to think of it.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, before I guess the question. To come to think of it, we can also thank you for this podcast because on one of our Yeah, one on one of our walking and talking through Redmond Town Center, I was like, I need a creative outlet. I need something. And we hashed out this idea of, well, this is the thing that's happening, maybe I need to go on a podcast. And so we all owe this to thank you for to. 

Adrian Menstell: And now it's more of a vlog video podcast. I know. But I think that the evolution you're stepping it up.

Kerry Guard: It's an it's a journey, for sure. It's a journey for sure. Marsh tells your story. Adrian, I mentioned our connection and where we came from. But that's not your story, your stories, your so what, what did you do at Microsoft? And more importantly, how did you get there?

Adrian Menstell: Great. So first of all, the good and bad news is that I'm actually no longer at Microsoft is probably everyone knows it's anywhere related to the tech industry, I've been on my LinkedIn, there's been a lot of restructuring within a lot of the tech companies, I had the the joy, quite frankly, of getting to work at Microsoft for over seven years and many, many rewards. And this most recent one, I just was reorg out. And that is actually kind of a okay. But the role that I had upon my departure is what's called a technical program manager. And I was a technical program manager, a senior technical program manager within the data and analytics group, that was part of the greater global demand center. And I'm going to break down exactly what that means rather than just give you a bunch of letters. So my role was working across two different teams. One was a data visualization team, the other one was a data science and advanced analytics team. And my job was to work with them and their stakeholders and bring visibility into the work that they're doing to ensure everyone knows what's going on what the blockers are, there's clear communication, from start to finish on all of the different projects and visibility so that things move forward. That is kind of primarily a solution, play meaning there's a specific problem that exists in all departments, and particularly in analytics, where people view it as a bit of a black box, anything to do with analytics, they think they can put things in and magically get things out, they don't under necessarily understand all the ticks and clicks, what the process actually looks like. And it gets very easy for these very intelligent individuals to kind of take a bit of a waterfall approach in terms of development, they get their requirements, they go and make something six months later, they come back. And then there's a bit of disconnect between what the product is and where the business is. Now, that role was meant to bring everyone along to make it a more of an iterative process. So prior to that, I was working as a Senior Product Marketing Manager still in data and analytics, within the GDC. And one of the issues that we had with our organization is what I would call a single source of truth. What that means is, when a lot of people have a lot of access to a lot of different data, but they're all trying to tell roughly similar stories, and that data is very complex, you end up slicing and dicing it differently and getting different numbers with different reasons and different insights. And then you end up with a little bit of swirl. And that was really not what people wanted in the end. So one of the roles that I had the pleasure of playing was building this data visualization kind of portal that brought really, really smart people putting together different sets of dashboards. And these would be stamped as the official views for how effective our marketing space was. And then prior to that I was a product marketing manager were kind of working as a data analyst. And this is all within what is the called the global demand center. And I'm not gonna go into too much detail, I have a really great link, actually, that talks about the Microsoft global demand center, and it truly is one of the best in the world. But net net, the way to look at it, and this kind of will tailor into the omni channel personalization, what the purpose of that is, is to bring together in a central place all of the touch points that a customer or potential customer has, and understand what are they consuming, and when and then based on their consumption habits, move them down that funnel ultimately to a sale. And the global demand center was really focused on that. That is a very, very high level, grief, I would say 100,050 foot level. And I can't necessarily say that I can give you all the tips and tricks of exactly how that works because a was very complicated. And I didn't actually design all of that global demand center, I had the pleasure of reporting on some of the effectiveness of different campaigns in it. So where I am today is one looking for a new home where I can focus my energies around data and analytics and marketing and advertising to really move forward in what I would call the modern marketing approach which is we call it personalization and an omni channel funnel really, it's kind of the table stakes for what consumers expect and businesses expect. When you are giving them any kind of media, they expect you to know that they already purchased the iPhone, so I shouldn't be advertising new the iPhone or or this different registration process. And if you don't do that, that actually erodes your brand. And by not doing that you end up wasting a lot of media and a lot of resources. So looking to move into that space and excited to talk with you Carrie about it because I could talk about it all day. I think we were talking about this at a certain level or even at MEC way total.

Kerry Guard: We totally were quick shout out to Trevor Trevor, thank you for joining us excited to have you feel free to drop your questions to us and 100% Adria. And this is exactly what we were talking about him. You see, it was very much around attribution, first touch view through conversions through the lovely platform that was Atlas. Yeah. Yeah, way back dating ourselves. Glorious.

Adrian Menstell: You this funny when I say it, everyone's like, Oh, what's that? And I'm like, Oh, I've gotten to that point, too. Did that happen?

Kerry Guard: I don't know. I don't know. I mean, the last between having children. And then and then COVID. It's sort of like the last year so time has just flown by flown by grade grade. Um, real quick, before we get into the omni channel conversation, which I'm excited to unpack with you. In still trying to follow my format, even though it's an a new, it's an a new home that is here on LinkedIn Live, which has been inspired by Trevor, who has been doing LinkedIn live for so long. And after seeing him do it, I've felt empowered. So thank you, Trevor. But before we get there and find my format, tell me about a challenge you're currently facing. Because we're all human and life is hard. 

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, well, okay. So outside of the scope, when it comes to personalization, a personal challenge? Well, the obvious one of looking for a new role is, is a challenge. But at the same time, it's really quite exciting. So I'm actually going to change that a little bit, the real challenge about that is going through the self reflection to understand what is it that I'm really excited about? And what is it that I really necessarily want to focus on? What does the next few chapters look like? And how do I necessarily get there? The challenge of making sure that you don't necessarily take the path of least resistance and go the route that's easiest, as much as the route that is intentional. And what the reason why that's a challenge, I have one level that seems really very simple. On the other level, I think it's actually quite complicated. Because if you ask someone to be really very, very honest, most people will tell you, they don't really know exactly what it is that they want to do. They can give you aspects of what they want to do. But it's one of those you don't know what you don't know situations until you start kind of doing things. So you have to boil it down into the essence of the things that you're really focused on. One of the things is getting to talk passionately about things that I care about is something that I really, really want to do, because I'm probably going to do it anyways. So that definitely is is is a challenge. Probably the biggest, most direct one. And then of course, the basic stuff like drinking enough water. To everyone that's listening. Please make sure you drink more water because we're probably the 100 True story. Yeah,

Kerry Guard: True story. I think that's really important. I don't know that we all know. It's all about what gives us energy and not dreams is at the end of the day. And I feel like there's more opportunity out there now more than ever. Yeah, it's it's tricky, though, because it's also like everybody's looking so trying to find the right spot for you. Um, yeah.

Adrian Menstell: I guess the other way to put that is moving your space your head to become process oriented and outcome independent, which is incredibly difficult to think when you start talking about your career. Because you want to take a role that's going to enrich you and move you along. That's very outcome dependent, but ensure that you're doing it in a way that the process has all the goodness that you need. That is a challenge, especially right now. But it's really important to do. So for me that looks like doing this and networking and talking to people that do really interesting things that I get excited about. So that's fun.

Kerry Guard: Is your process consistent like I find was process you you can just sort of like their process comes with new sort of steps that you take. So you mentioned networking, you mentioned live logging, which is now you know, on your resume and glorious is there like certain things like you wake up in the morning and you sort of treat getting a job like Any job? Or you sort of know you do,

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, yeah, you do, you have to you have to have a structure about it, at least for me. So one of the the exciting things is that your calendar becomes really very open. And that is a double edged sword, you can hover away and do nothing basically, and have no impact. Or you can structure your day where you're balancing self care, professional development, networking, applying, adding value at home, a lot of those different things. So you structured in that way. And then you have a mental map of how you're going to spend that time that could be you're spending x number of hours networking, X number of hours, applying X number of hours doing professional development, and then excellent exercising and stuff like that. So I wouldn't necessarily say have a very clear process in terms of everything that has to happen as much as the approach that I tried to take and blocking out those sections. So that if you're like me, you can over index on any of those very, very easily unless you have a schedule that you try to stick.

Kerry Guard: And I said I would do the opposite, I would imagine be like, tomorrow's another day, it'll be fine. If I didn't, like,

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, I mean, definitely an alluring option, right to put everything off. But, you know, if you spend five to 10 minutes trying to do it, you'll end up spending probably half an hour to an hour actually doing it. And then you've done it. And if you do that every single day, you've then put iterative process and iterative. What's the word progress towards what it is that you're working for, and all things that are important take time anyways. So if you put it off, you never get started. And but it can be overwhelming like any project at work, it always can seem overwhelming, how am I going to boil this ocean? Well, you don't need to boil this ocean, you need to take a little cup and boil that water and then take another cup and then another cup. And then before you know you've done a gallon and you're off to the races,

Kerry Guard: You have enough water to get you through a marathon. Yeah, there you go to your point of drinking enough water. I mean, yes, I like it. Let's talk about how you built systems and teams at Microsoft that allow you to see performance, from first to last touch. I think that's sort of, I'm very, so.

Adrian Menstell: No worries, I'll go a little bit more into the teams that I worked with at Microsoft, and how that relates to global the global demand center. So the first step to global demand Center did look at those all of those interact, and we start talking about first touch and then last touch. The key difference when you're talking about the marketing funnel is when someone becomes unknown lead versus an unknown lead, typically, your first touch your first interaction, there's still an unknown leak, think of impressions or clicks on ads are really basic things until you start getting to a point where you have a unique identifier for that individual, or like an email address. They're kind of that very, very high up upper funnel, then once you have that known lead or known contact, or that ID for that person, you have some information on them, then things get significantly more interesting in the marketing funnel, and you can start off ball, marketing touchpoint kind of engine with them. So my role was not to necessarily build that, but to report on the effectiveness of that, and talk about how folks are moving down the different stages within that funnel of consideration and purchase. And then finally, post purchase and things like that awareness and whatnot, so that we could understand where the gaps are, and then start cutting that slice and dice that by geography by offer by every way under the sun. So the two teams that I worked with on that one was a visualization team again, that was to handle the core problem of not having a single source of truth, or really, we had many source of truth and then getting that key visual, that's going to answer I like to say dashboards to answer 80% of the questions. The reality is, dashboards answer the first 80% of the questions and then all of the questions change. And the dashboard isn't often able to answer those questions because the audience more informed and they ask more complex questions.

Kerry Guard: Just raise more questions. 

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, well, I mean, that's not necessarily bad. I used to make the analogy if you don't have a speedometer on your car, you're always going to be asking you if that's my goal, and once you have that speedometer, well then you're gonna ask how much gas do you have? Well, once you have that, document, your oil pressure, so you know, it builds once you have more information, it just keeps kind of going. So that's fine. Um, so that's kind of how that related to the to Team One of the team ended up I moved away from but I started operating as a TPM for them and that was a data visual was a team. And they also had a secondary team, which was an ad hoc analytics team. So whenever you have that 80% dashboards, you're also still going to have a lot of ad hoc analytics. And with this with an A very large analytics department that's grouped into a lot of different things. One of the things that I had the ability to have a team focus on as an outside team was ad hoc analytics. So a question would come in, that couldn't be answered about the dashboard, by the dashboard, or dashboards and or question about the dashboard specifically, that would then get funneled to this ad hoc analytics team that would dig into it based on an SLA or would funnel it to an expert, based on that specific question. That was our

Kerry Guard: Quick question from the audience. TPM

Adrian Menstell: Technical program manager, I apologize, I defined early on in the conversation, but a technical program manager think of a, you're well pretty familiar with a pm in general, a technical Pm is kind of someone that works a lot with engineers, rather than a general kind of business PM. That is kind of one of the main distinguishing factors of a TPM again, but it's a very broad term. So that can be different at almost any in every organization. And typically, technical program managers are very deep on one or two very specific subjects so that they can operate in that engineering space very effectively, again, but it's gonna be different. I don't want to be the be I'll end on what a TPM is.

Kerry Guard: Right and so for you in this particular role, you were helping the 20% figure out what those questions were, and then using your outsourced team to answer those questions in terms of that ad hoc data. That was part. Yeah,

Adrian Menstell: The other part was the working with the team to develop additional dashboards and evolve the dashboard based on stakeholder needs and requirements and kind of what that looks like I ended up I didn't own that as a as a senior technical program manager. I wasn't the manager of that team. At one point I was but when I moved into the senior technical program manager role, I focused not on what they should be doing in terms of increasing visibility into what they are doing.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, and totally Trevor acronyms for everyone. Every company has their acronyms. Every industry has their acronyms. I remember when I joined General Mills as a as a senior media planner, many moons ago, they every brand had their own acronym. HNC was Honey Nut Cheerios, God forbid we say Ariana Cheerios, we have to say HNC. So yes, always alphabet going in soup for everyone. Um, let's talk about the funnel. Adrian has mentioned it a couple of times. So let's actually, you you mentioned sort of parts of the funnel, but let's actually really hone in on what the funnel means to you. And, and the different parts because I'm getting a mixed vibe in the atmosphere outside, you know, in the industry, a funnel or no funnel? Is it different than the customer journey? Is that the same? And so you said, times, what's your sort of take on it.

Adrian Menstell: Totally. So how I think about the customer funnel and the customer journey, I view the customer journey to almost be like a snake that lives within it with snake winding around live within that funnel, I don't necessarily see them as mutually exclusive. The customer journey is the process of all the different media touchpoints that a customer is going to take to gain the knowledge and make a purchasing decision ultimately, or not. On your product, that funnel is how you categorize those different stages within that kind of customer journey that you can control. And the goal is to understand within that funnel, what are the pain points and problems that that potential customer that person has in relation to your product? And so at the very, very top, it's just Are they aware? And what does that awareness look like? And there's a series of different marketing and advertising efforts that you can have that that, in theory, would move them down to the next funnel, or at least move them out of that awareness stage. And then within consideration, again, a bunch of different omni channel, media touchpoints that they could take. So I see a customer journey as what their path is, and I see the funnel as within their path. What can I control in terms of those, those touch points to a certain degree? So that's kind of how I think about it. And when we started talking about omni channel, surely that means what is going on?

Kerry Guard: Hold on before we get there. I really want to like hone in on this point. Yeah. Think it'll come up again, but hone in on this point around what we can control. I feel like, I don't feel like I know this, I've done enough research, I've had enough podcasts at this point, I've talked enough to the audience. We are not in control of the sales process anymore. It is truly up to the buyer of when they are ready to buy, and they feel like they have done enough research. Oh, make a thoughtful decision. And so I love what you're saying around what we can control because it's feeling smaller and smaller, and smaller, and really, like dependent on the buyer at this point, and how.

Adrian Menstell: That gets into a really interesting psychological and almost moral conversation. Should we even be able to control it all the way down? No, we really, we shouldn't all we should be able to do as marketers and advertisers is best anticipate the needs of potential customers, and then best inform them in terms of how our products and services best fit those those needs. And that is, quite frankly, the best that we can and should you should have been loose aim for otherwise, you start going into what's kind of like the tinfoil hat fear around advanced advertising and marketing. And that it's all this is overbearing, very controlling, psychological game that we're all stuck in and don't even know it, which is terrifying. I can my experience and your experience really says usually, it's not even close, not even close to that complex, it's usually surface level. So but the idea that it was ever really in our control, I think was was kind of extreme as well, it was always up to the customer to feel good about making that decision in some way, shape, or form. So they've accurate that they've been successfully sold on the idea that this product or service is going to reduce a pain point. Or really increase our inherent value in some way, really kind of almost those two different things, it's probably a lot more in terms of the psychology. But unless that customer feels, or potential customer feels that this service somehow meets it known or unknown need, you know, doesn't go anywhere.

Kerry Guard: It's true, or they don't, and they don't really want to hear from us at this point, they want to feel completely in control, which then creates this little bit of a battle between us wanting control and then wanting control and this friction, especially in sales. Yeah, I've needed to hit poor sales teams have these numbers that need to hit and feel really the pressure of doing that. And then they like harp on the audience too. And then the audience backs off and sort of like this roundabout way we keep the merry go round, we all get on. And I'm so glad we're all acknowledging that we need to get off except, and let the buyer do what the buyer needs to do. We create as much visual, you know, visibility and value around them as possible to say if we're for you, here's how and why. And you'll ultimately make decision. And that's about all we can do. 

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, and that that kind of goes into my inherent interest when it comes to the personalization approach. Within the whole funnel is why I like the idea of modern marketing and marketing in general and advertising is the reduction of waste. And in theory, the increase of utility. If the messages that I'm getting are valuable to me in some way, there's some sort of utility, then I'm going to view that brand more positively and view advertising in general more positively a really good example of this is much like a large percent of the population. mycology mushrooms have been really interesting to me lately, not just for The Last of Us show, which is pretty entertaining. But because of that, yeah, I'm now getting advertising for mushroom coffee, which is not actually coffee most of the time, but it's a bunch of different medicinal functional mushrooms, quarters, etc, that are meant to give you energy now that provides a utility to me, if I instead was getting a whole bunch of ads for instant coffee, not as much, but they still could be in there as well. So that's what I really like about that funnel, it all goes down to the right message to the right person at the right time. And those are really, really big terms. But and as long as you kind of take a bit of the the stance of don't be evil, you can use them in a way that benefits both the company and the individual in terms of what is that right message what is that right person and what is that right time in a way that is both beneficial to the person soon and beneficial to the company, and that that core nugget is really the true north star that I think a lot of folks are working towards, in different ways. Naturally, you'll have bad players as well that just want to remember those low my bills, ads, things like that, that that, obviously not particularly advanced, but they were very effective. And not, you know, so you'll always have, well, but that's a whole different conversation.

Kerry Guard: This is true, um, let's talk about while we're stuck talking about the funnel, one of the questions I have for you is around the dark funnel, right, and things we can't measure. And how you're defining the funnel in relation to that, how does the dark funnel fit in to the customer journey, this sneak that's going through terms of like what we can and can't see.

Adrian Menstell: So I want to make sure I have an understanding of the dark funnel. And rather than just answering that, when I envision the dark funnel, I truly mean, these are the activities that people are taking, that I can't measure or control.

Kerry Guard: Or I think, might even that you have no idea that you just know that you're putting this information out there, whether it's through social, you know, social sort of hard, especially organic, social, sometimes really hard to measure, especially word of mouth stuff. You know, so there's no one to one, they click the link, they came to our site they bought, right? It's, it's very organic, and you can't, that people that show up one day, there's a really good example, real quick, real quick story that my business partner just told me about this happening. So somebody was watching YouTube channel, over and over and over every single video that came out this person, like, they didn't interact with it, they didn't comment, they just watched these videos. And then one day, they showed up on a cold call and said, I'm ready to buy. And they're like, I've never heard of you. How did you find us? He was like, I've just been watching your YouTube videos. And I'm ready to take in like, but there's no way until that happens. No way to know.

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, so the the foundation of personalization is data. And if you don't have data in some way, you can't do a whole lot of personalization. So when I think about that dark funnel, I position that as the very, very top of our funnel, it's still important to put to be active in those places in a way that's in line with your brand and your messaging. But they also need to be done in a way that would bring them to that position where we're able to get that data. So you're always going to get the I don't know if they're actually outliers, statistically, but we'll call it an outlier, that consumes your content, but doesn't do anything else. And you can't necessarily track it in any way that's going to exist. And it's kind of a bonus, the goal is move them into a space that you can begin tracking them. And then you can begin building segments about users that are similar based on their behaviors. And then you can start utilizing different kinds of engines to give them different messages based on that segment, and then their behavior. And so you can kind of move them down. So to answer the question, how do I think about it, it's definitely a nice plus one. But the goal in my mind is to move them into a place where I can get data so that I can guide in some way knowing that there will always be that that outlier that that comes in, but consumes our media. So the other way to think about that is the things that you're putting out that aren't personalized, are still very, very valuable and still worth doing. And keep in mind that if you go too specific for that broad information, you may lose that that small, little outlier. And that isn't necessarily bad. Because if you're able to go that specific, they're also likely able to move them into a space, were able to get that data. Because with specificity comes deeper interest, generally, and then deeper interaction. And once you have that interaction, so your site site interaction, then you can start leveraging that and put that into your engine.

Kerry Guard: I think that's really important. Because I find that sometimes people feel like it's not working. Oh, we're doing brand, we're doing all this social, we're doing this, these podcasts, we're doing all this community stuff. But I'm not seeing any actual like card return on it. So maybe we should just stop doing it because it's so much energy and it's like, but you don't know what that dark funnel stuff is feeding in the actual funnel when they make that leap. That awareness to actually entering the user journey and that personalization. Absolutely. You have to capture them and I think just don't give up like you can always test it and turn it off and see what happens. Yeah, recommend it, I wouldn't bet that's one way.

Adrian Menstell: I really just think of it as the very top of the upper funnel. And your goal is to do that to bring folks folks in. The goal is to get in my mind, the goal is to get get it trackable. But again, I come from the data and analytics, and tracking doesn't exist for me. But it still it still plays an important part. So, branding is very important. And I'm not gonna say anything, otherwise, you can't personalize very well on branding. And you can't personalize without data that I'm aware of.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, yeah, no, I think that's, that's true. So we talked about the funnel, let's talk about channels. Yeah. So before we get into the Omni of it, what are what is? What does channel mean to you? Is that just straight up? Social, you know, Facebook, or Twitter? Or no?

Adrian Menstell: Yeah. I like that question and how you worded it, um, I think of channels is a fairly loose definition. But it's the grouping of different media touchpoints. And even use media, fairly loosely, it's the grouping of different avenues for messaging of some sort, that you're able to exert effort on in some way, shape, or form. So you earn own social paid, all of the things that you when you think of digital marketing, and the messaging that you're putting out, to me, that is a channel. And that's an opportunity to inform and direct your potential customer and existing customers, to better suit their needs in some way, shape, or form, each channel, and again, I use that loosely, each grouping of messaging avenues, which sounds a lot like channel is going to have its own unique aspects to it, that you're gonna have to talk a little bit differently communicate a little bit differently based on the technical capabilities within that channel. And the users that go necessarily to that channel, the important thing to consider is a testing, and B, you don't actually have to be everywhere all the time. That's exhausting. And that's actually one of the issues is understanding, where does it make the most sense for you to move into and have an impact because there's a bit of a ratio of effort and impact. And then understanding that resources are not infinite, you're not going to be able to be on every single channel effectively, it's significantly better to understand where your customers are and potential customers are or where your customers are coming from, and optimize your energies based on that. And then within that channel, put your effort into optimizing your efforts to be most effective for whatever KPI you're looking for, let's call it engagement for that channel. The overall idea of the omni channel is that even though you're optimizing within each thing, so your other social being one way or YouTube as another way, you you have a brand guidelines and message guidelines that fit. And then within each of those channels, you have the ability to have more of an autonomous approach that are still within the guardrails, but can still be can work to the uniqueness of each of those channels. That's how I think about it.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, I love how you're talking about it, not necessarily being a platform, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and more about the approach of what you're trying to accomplish. So whether it's organic, from a search standpoint, or getting social video being YouTube, which could also mean tick tock, which would also mean a bunch of things, but how you show up in that medium, and then you know, how you show up in in the platform. So it's almost like channel two medium to platform and really like digging, you know, digging that down and personalizing it that way. And then who's on that channel is going to be very different. A YouTube user versus if Tik Tok user might be very different. Yes. In terms of how there can be you don't want long form content on Tik Tok. Exactly. Versus YouTube.

Adrian Menstell: Yeah. And the challenge there is to is to part is making content in an effective way that scalable, that true integrated marketing approach. So how do you make a creative ecosystem that is going to produce assets at scale that are going to fit into each of those and optimized for each of those experiences? That's very challenging. But that's a fun challenge, too. And the key is understanding which true platforms and channels you need to be on and then working backwards kind of from there, so that you can be the most effective within that. But that's one of those fun challenges, right? That's one of the things I've never gotten away.

Kerry Guard: I feel like based off of what I'm hearing out, through all my conversations through the podcasts I listen to through the community, I'm part of content always been really important. But there's something there's some energy that's happening. Trevor can totally lean into this, too. There's some energy that's happening around content sort of being the pillar. And yeah, the stake in the ground.

Adrian Menstell: Oh, my gosh, I'm really glad that you mentioned that, because one of the things that I've actually been talking about with a few different companies is how important creative assets actually are within this ecosystem. So you and me coming from analytics and media in the tech side, we immediately go to well, how does everything work together? How do I get that? The big customer data platform that has that one key for the user that I can segment and move across all of these different things? What does the tech look like? What kind of loss do I have, and cookie matching all of those really deep technical things. But the thing is, there's a lot of really, really, really, really smart people that are figuring that out in different ways. I wouldn't say it's perfect, but there's a lot of overlap. And within that you're able to produce that nearly seamless environment. Even with that nearly seamless environment. If your content and your creative isn't appealing, you still have nothing, it's as important as your product. So I actually see we're going to see a shift in the coming years within this omni channel kind of focus on where the tech stack is still very important, and still the foundation. But it's always going to be there. It's more choosing if you're making a painting, what color and what type of paint. But the creative itself is what is it that you're actually painting. Because if you're not painting something really interesting, it doesn't matter how advanced your paintings, if the image isn't appealing, and that's a pretty, it's a loose analogy. Yeah. I see this at Sunday being creative and experience led. And the reason why I used to talk about it being content, a part of that content is the experience itself. How do you interact? What What are your media touch points along your whole total journey in that funnel, and what kind of creative ecosystem is being built to support that, that is going to be appealing to you. And if it looks like Frankenstein is really bad, you're gonna, you're gonna bounce, even if it's a really good offer, even if it was the right time, and I'm the right person, if that creative doesn't matter to me, in any way, I'm gone. So getting the targeting, obviously, there's still a lot going on with targeting. I'm not saying that that is figured out and done and easy. But it's easier than when you know, I bootstrapped this from the ground up at an agency, it's significantly easier to do it now than it was then. And we could still do it. So but that creative, it's that's never going to change in terms of being really important. So I get it. I know that sounds a little bit weird. You knowing me and my background being so focused on analytics, but it needs to be in place for people to kind of care about and one of the

Kerry Guard: What's the thing we test right, when we're talking about analytics, there's nothing to test if we're not testing creative and messaging and like what people are resonating with?

Adrian Menstell: Yes, yeah. And one of the ways that I see for creating this personalization and hyper targeting within hyper targeting and using loosely, it's not truly I don't think it's truly hyper targeting. But personalization within this omni channel funnel is a core set of assets that is accessible across departments within the organization, so that you have this center of excellence that's dictating what kind of should be done. And then you have a pool of things that are on brand within the message that creatives can go in and pull from and apply correctly, very challenging to do. So it doesn't look like Frankenstein, but I do think that it's possible. And this is how you start being able to produce this always on media, but the messaging is able to change relatively quickly. And then depending on what your product site is in your audience, you may or may not need to do that. But then you can do it relatively fast without having to burn out your creatives making endless amounts of time, because that's the real problem with this right? Is as you get more, you need more and more and more and more and more content, well, then you start doing it poorly, you know, well, maybe not but you burn people out doing that. And then your machine breaks down having a way to do it faster, and and mostly seamless, based on what's needed, I think is going to be one of the big turning points for organizing.

Kerry Guard: Trevor. Yeah, Trevor's agreeing with you. He's saying content creation needs to be faster, more timely, and in his opinion, less evergreen, which is I think, is what you're saying too. We're getting away from this evergreen content. But we're building a system where we can easily change out the content to fit in with our ingredients that we're talking to.

Adrian Menstell: A creative messaging ecosystem that is evergreen, so that the message has changed based on offer and experience basically.

Kerry Guard: The only thing I'll caveat all of this with is SEO is still a huge opportunity and still lives on. And it's still evergreen. Oh, yeah. And so like, right, so if you build a giant, so here's an example of that, again, my business partner, thank you, Mike crassa, given to me earlier this week, around a report, there's a company that builds his entire marketing efforts around a single report, they build that report takes them a whole year to cultivate. So it's like Christmas morning, right? Like, they deliver the report on Christmas morning. And then they wake up and they have to do it all over again, and like get another report together. But they live off of that report for an entire year in this micro content that they that they pull out to meet the audiences and needs of certain people, and this micro content throughout. And so I think we'll start to see a bit of that between the Evergreen of needing to hit that for SEO, and then how do we break that down to meet the needs and message that throughout the you know, that becomes a pillar that you're talking about that sort of brand guidelines becomes that pillar piece that we then all sort of like feed off of? 

Adrian Menstell: Yeah and so I think it's really similar. I mean, from and you would know this a little bit better than I would just based on some of your experience, but is there is a rare time when you're not bidding on certain key terms within your search, right? Similarly, so those are evergreen, yeah, your your branded terms, for example, is a good example of that, you're gonna get what you get out of it. And you kind of always need to be there, you can play with the bidding strategy, etc. Should you choose to go that angle? But what the the so that's kind of always on, but the idea that you should shift it based on how things are changing? Absolutely. You shouldn't be static, that creates a lot of waste.

Kerry Guard: Yeah. Which I love what you're talking about everything you've been talking about, from the funnel, to the omni channel to the end to the personalization that you've been baking in throughout the conversation, everything is coming back to the audience and the ICP, yes. Right? Yes. So how do you define how do you ICP is ideal customer profile, which is more around when you're talking b2b. You're talking more around the, to your point, the higher level, the collection, the the accounts, the industry, the not personas, we'll get there in a second. But just like your ideal customer, who you're ideally wanting to talk to you on a grand on a on a high level?

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, that is, I like that. And I think there's an important distinction to make of who's ideal. And then who's there? And then what is the delta? And why is that? And why is your ideal different than what you're actually getting. So that is important to kind of dig into, because it could be whoever is designing that ideal, it could be more aspirational, rather than really connected to what's driving the business, or your business may be positioned a little bit differently than you might you actually think. But getting the data on that is kind of interesting. So how do I think about that in terms of the the funnel in general.

Kerry Guard: The funnel and omni channel? Yeah, and personalization, right? 

Adrian Menstell: Yeah. So I like the idea of the of the ideal candidate, the the issue is making sure that that ideal candidate works, right? If you are, so there isn't necessarily a mismatch between what's ideal, and then what is reasonable that you're reasonably kind of gonna get. So assuming that you've done that work, then your ideal ideal.

Kerry Guard: Your ideal customer profile should be baked from the people who are actually buying from you and the problems. You mentioned this earlier. From the actual problems, you saw your product and brand solve. Right? You always have some outliers, but at the end of the day, what is your product do to the end in in line with the problems they solve? And who are those problems? Who has those problems and finding those folks? 

Adrian Menstell: Totally. I mean, that should absolutely be a major consideration when you're talking about all of your media that's going out is Who are those people and where are they and how can I reach them and then when I am reaching them, starting them at the top of the funnel with an awareness And then if I have any data on them, doing things like lookalike targeting and different targeting to move them automatically to different stages of the funnel based on their experience, get them in, get exposure to them and get them to your homepage, for example, or your campaign page. And then from there, begin moving them down the funnel based on what behavior they've taken. So if that's their reading white paper A to then send in the next reasonable white paper that you would think would move them down that funnel, I do want to call out that, when you start going down the conversation of what that kind of next best action is, you start having the conversation of machine learning in terms of historical data, and how you can move folks down the best way. The thing with that, which is almost a little bit I wouldn't say off putting is you need a lot of data and a lot of history to do that. So don't necessarily assume that that is a requirement off the bat when you're doing your pilot, because it's going to take a long time to get enough data to have a significant view of truly from machine learning point, what really should be the next step, that's going to take time. And very often what you'll see to this evergreen point is a lot of different messages in the market changing very, very rapidly. So it can get hard to kind of get to that point. But that shouldn't be off putting to trying to guide your ICP or any or your ideal customer, or in your existing customers in general through kind of that funnel. So I think that answers the question and goes off in a tangent, but I hope so.

Kerry Guard: No, but I like your tangent, because two things in your tangent one is let's talk about third party cookies for a second, because you mentioned some tactics that are going to be implicated by third party cookies. And I feel like that's why you're harping on the importance of getting somebody to your website, because the minute they're on your website, and you can draw a cookie, then you have some data.

Adrian Menstell: Yeah, and reliable data. So I mean, third party cookies are great, but you end up Yeah, I haven't really anything bad to say about third party gonna tell you expand your pool really, is you identify a key. So what Yeah, for now, yeah. And I don't have a solution for that. But the most, the more that you can get someone into a place where you are able to get information on them in some way, shape or form, the better off that you are going to be for sure, I know that there's going to be solutions that are outside of cookies, for sure. But and there's some you know, the clean rooms are one of the things that folks are talking about a little bit as a way to get around the walled gardens. But if you can get someone into your walled garden, then it's significantly easier to use. And it's actually where a lot of this moves from push media in general, I guess it's all media, but moving into an email communication, so that and then different kinds of events, so that you can get them out of a place where it's purely based on exposure to traditional, what we call advertisements, and more focused on content and experiences. And that is going to be pretty effective to you. Now you're not gonna be able to personalize every single experience, but you can personalize emails, so.

Kerry Guard: Sure, it's true, it's moving in this or I can feel the energy moving this direction towards events, especially community letters, everything, you know, something surrounding content content being sort of the center that pulls people in, and then you start making connections for those people. Yeah. And sort of building the web around it that then moves people through the funnel in that way, which is an interesting sort of, turn of events given people don't want to be sold to, they also don't want to give up their information. And if they do give up their information, it better be one hell of a piece of content that I'm doing that for. And suddenly, they were gonna get on a subscription like basis, right? So I just subscribed to a really cool email for building categories. So pirate categories really cool. And they have a newsletter. So you sign up for the newsletter. And every week, you get a piece of content that's going to help you build a category, which is incredibly powerful. So I do think that there's going to be a shift towards first party first capturing data, but also the content being the pillar of that. Yeah. The other thing I want to touch on in relation to something you said around and I lost my thought because we are actually at time, and we could go on for this. I know we could go on for days on this because it's up and this is you all got a glimpse into what MEC was like I hope more, I hope, are you saying sitting somewhere with a pile of popcorn? That would be the most glorious picture ever.

Adrian Menstell: I don't know you didn't agree with me on anything. So I don't think it was quite the same. We have to.

Kerry Guard: True. That's true. We didn't go we're in agreement these days, which we'll have to work on. Adrian, just to wrap up our conversation around identifying who you need to be talking to the pain points in which they have building a funnel around how to around the intent of which they live in the customer journey, getting them, you know, getting them from that awareness piece to get them on your website, being able to capture any sort of data, even if it's not a personal email, but any sort of data, to then personalize the experience and help them move through to make a decision to that capture it in a nutshell.

Adrian Menstell: You did but there's so much more to it. And one of the things that I really want to focus on. But yes, to answer your question, it's a yes. And one of the things that that folks forget about but it's almost is more important is the existing customers and ensuring that the exposure to them is personalized based on their experiences. And having that in mind, because if you've already purchased a product, you don't want to get messages on that product. If you already present that project product and you go to the homepage, you don't want to be resold that product that you already have. That makes you annoyed at the brand and creates this friction, you're not going to the reason why this is important. We all know that expanding existing customers is cheaper and more effective than acquiring new customers. And if you are not personalizing your experience for your existing customers, you are creating that conflict off the bat. And that's just a bad idea. And again, yeah. You absolutely could. Yeah, I don't know why. But that I think was everything you said plus Don't forget about post purchase. Very, very important. 

Kerry Guard: You got to keep your current customers as you build onto it. Yes, yes. And it's much easier to personalize the experience for your existing customers, knowing what their problems are and what they're trying to achieve. And getting them that experience. Yeah. Yes, we didn't get into a lot of the how folks, which I appreciate, there's probably a lot of questions up in the air. So please feel free, even though post live to drop those questions into the comments, we will circle back with you and get you some answers. And then who knows, maybe it'll it'll create an opportunity for round two, Adrian.

Adrian Menstell: I'd love that I, one of the things I'd love to do is build a nice little map of exactly how to do all of this within the existing tech stack. But then that comes into a major problem of you're gonna get a lot of a lot of tech and then how do you consolidate it, etc. But that sounds really fun.

Kerry Guard: Hey, you know, you start it. And then maybe that's piece of content, pillar content that we build off of, we do it together, and it'll be great grooving. Before we leave Adrian, you are human and a wonderful human. We've talked a lot about marketing, but just tell us Have you picked up any new hobbies in the last few years, given the change of the world?

Adrian Menstell: Oh, you know, I work out a lot of great home gym at home. And I have found a meditation as well. mindful meditation is big. So it's not just a haircut. I'm into the mindful meditation. Working out and then I read a lot to my found some fun fantasy books, and I read nightly, as well as you know, the self help stuff and professional development. But it's really fun to have a nice fantasy book. Two to move into. Yeah, it's awesome. And then but yeah, working out has been major for me in terms of mental and physical health. So.

Kerry Guard: Well, for those who are listening, if you are interested in connecting with Adrian mens style, please please please connect with him on LinkedIn. You can find him here on LinkedIn. Thank you LinkedIn for making that so easy. Now that we're live. This is so great. Yeah, Adrian, as always such a joy. I'm so grateful so grateful.

Adrian Menstell: I hope things that I can argue with you about in the future.

Kerry Guard: We're going to figure that out because we're really good at. Yeah, that's going to be great. Thank you to our listeners. Thank you, Trevor van Warden for joining us and for your lovely questions. Ashley, he tagged two people. Ashley and, and Liam Lashley. Liam, if you have any follow up questions, please let us know. We'd be happy to answer those. This episode was brought to you by mkg marketing, the digital marketing agency that helps grow your business to help Ford your mission, especially for complex b2b brands. So thank you all so much, and see out there.

This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

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